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The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah"

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The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" Cover

ISBN13: 9781451657852
ISBN10: 1451657854
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Praised as "brilliantly revelatory...a masterful work of critical journalism" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), The Holy or the Broken is the fascinating account of one of the most-performed rock songs in history--Leonard Cohen's heartrending "Hallelujah."

When iconoclastic rocker Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded the song "Hallelujah," it was for an album rejected by his longtime record label. When finally released, it attracted little attention or airplay. Today, the song is a staple of movies and TV shows as diverse as Shrek and The West Wing and has been covered by hundreds of artists around the world, including Bob Dylan, U2, Justin Timberlake, and k.d. lang. Written with elegance and journalistic precision, The Holy or the Broken charts the rise of "Hallelujah" from obscurity to phenomenal success.

After ten years of obscurity, the song was reimagined by charismatic newcomer Jeff Buckley for his much-anticipated debut album, Grace. Three years after that, Buckley would be dead, his album largely unknown, and "Hallelujah" still unreleased as a single. After two such commercially disappointing outings, how did one little-known song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?

Through in-depth interviews with its interpreters and the key figures who witnessed its original recordings, acclaimed music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of "Hallelujah" straight to the heart of popular culture. "Thoughtful and illuminating" (The New York Times), The Holy or the Broken gives insight into how great songs come to be, how they come to be listened to, and how they can be forever reinterpreted.

Synopsis:

How did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own? Celebrated music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture.

About the Author

Alan Light has been one of America’s leading music journalists for the past twenty years. Light was a senior editor at Rolling Stone, founding music editor and editor in chief of Vibe, and editor in chief of Spin magazine. He has been a contributor for The New Yorker, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Mother Jones, and the Oxford American, and is the author of The Skills to Pay the Bills, an oral history of the Beastie Boys; The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”; and cowriter of the New York Times bestselling memoir by Greg Allman, My Cross to Bear.

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Erin Tuzuner, January 15, 2014 (view all comments by Erin Tuzuner)
This would have worked better as an essay, because even the brilliance of Hallelujah sounds like a circle jerk for 200 pages. I get it, it's like the first time you have sex in that everyone has something to say about it. Everyone feels the need to embellish, enunciate, exclaim. This is just a perfect song. Leonard Cohen is a genius. Rufus Wainwright is an adorable prince. Jeff Buckley is the great unknown because dying young gives you that glow. There is too much trivia, and as someone who enjoys trivia, perhaps it's just boring? And there's WAY TOO MUCH amanda palmer.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451657852
Author:
Light, Alan
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
Music -- History and criticism.
Subject:
General Music
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
hallelujah; jeff buckley; leonard cohen; greg allman; shrek; mtv; american idol; the voice; justin timberlake; bono; k.d. lang; song; rock; classic
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20131131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.38 x 5.5 in

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The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" New Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Atria Books - English 9781451657852 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , How did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own? Celebrated music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture.
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